Talking Points Responding to Calls for More Police and Armed Personnel in Schools

 

Funneling money to more police and/or armed school staff is not the answer to preventing violence in schools. We need to invest in counselors, social workers, Restorative Justice Coordinators, Community Intervention Workers and other supportive school staff that actually create safer schools.

 

 

 

  • It Creates More Problems: More police lead to more students being arrested for school discipline related incidents

 

  • We Need Real Safety: Preventing violence in schools requires both long-term and short-term solutions

    • Social and emotional learning and Restorative Justice teach young people how to manage their emotions and respond to conflicts in healthy ways

    • Counselors, wrap-around services and strong relationships with caring adults give struggling students support, and keep students who may need interventions from falling through the cracks.

    • Having entrances and halls monitored by supportive school staff (like Community Intervention Workers and Peacebuilders) who know the student body well can preemptively address issues as them come up, intervene as conflicts arise, and quickly identify when something is wrong that requires an emergency response.

    • School Resource Officers are police, not counselors or social workers. Students deserve trained mental health professionals, and telling students they can go to an SRO for counseling (when the SRO can report their conversations as part of a criminal investigation) is ineffective and can lead to negative consequences.  

 

  • Quick facts related to the Parkland Shooting that support our arguments:

    • Four armed police were on site and did not prevent or end the shooting.

    • The shooter interacted with law enforcement many times: he was the subject of tips to the FBI and had the police received calls about him at least 17 times--and they were unable to prevent the shooting. Law enforcement clearly cannot be the only tool we use to prevent these shootings.

    • Broward County Superintendent said after the shooting that the mental health support in Broward is “not sufficient.”


 

Resources:

Portland Parent Union

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